By now the holiday season is behind us and the new year has started. The holidays were filled with many things; friends and family, giving thanks for all that we have, and FOOD. About the food, while some side dishes during the holidays are healthy, most of the food that gets consumed is not. Cookies, candies, appetizers while all delicious did not end the year well in the eating well category.
In the new year for my family we are focusing on trying to make healthy choices (a bit clichy for a new year’s resolution, I know). A big part of that focus is around my 2 year old daughter, Addie. She is at that point where she is trying to push boundaries and that includes food. If she could have her way all she eats would consist of cereal, grapes, goldfish, crackers, hot dogs, and chicken noodle soup. And if it is a green vegetable, forget about it. We are working hard to expand her horizons with food and try not to go the easy way out and provide her those few favorites.
With that said there are a few things that we are trying to do to increase the variety of food that she eats this year. One thing is meal planning at the beginning of the week and doing it so that there isn’t a second option for her for dinner. On Sunday with that meal plan in mind we went to Bishop’s. There are two things that get Addie excited about going to Bishop’s: getting an apple from the basket at the entrance and pushing her own cart. Going around the store with a two year old pushing the kids cart definitely takes some time but the smile on her face makes it worth it. This is part of the process where I hope it translates to her eating, helping get the food from the store. I picked out the fruits and vegetables from the shelf, hand it to her and she would put it in the cart. While doing that we say the name of the food as part of the learning process as well. Keeping her involved and excited hopefully translates to the same feelings at home when the food is on her plate.
An additional component of trying to eat better is having Addie be a part of the cooking process. She does have a play kitchen that she loves to cook in and she also loves cooking with us. Even at two there are simple tasks that she can do to “help”. For example, if ingredients need to be mixed together in a bowl, we will measure items out and she will dump each one in the bowl and mix it together. She also likes to be on a chair at the counter just watching us cook. She loves to be involved in the process. It also makes us feel good because she is a bit of a cheerleader, she will say “Yay, Mommy did the cooking!” or “Yay, Daddy did the cooking” when we are done and ready to eat. Who doesn’t like a little motivation?
It is just the beginning of 2016 but I hope to stay on track and get my daugher involved in learning to love various foods that are good for all of us.